Anthony Joshua and Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller put on a show at Madison Square Garden Tuesday afternoon to announce their heavyweight title fight. Except Joshua, the WBA, WBO and IBO champion and the undefeated Miller, from Brooklyn made this more into a war of insults that would make Donald Trump look good.
June 1st at the Garden, Joshua will make his debut in the United States. Miller is the hometown fighter who made it known that Joshua is a pretty face that gets everything handed to him. But the fight has already set a ticket stream revenue for a Garden boxing event and the heavyweight title does have significance in the sport.
The title fight will be streamed live on the DAZN Network and Sky Sports under the Matchroom Boxing banner as promoter Eddie Hearn continues to deliver what was said with the mega DAZN deal. He has Canelo Alvarez under contract and the richest athlete with a sports contract added a super middleweight title at the Garden in December.
But there was no need for the theatrics that continued prior to and during the first of two press conferences that will continue tomorrow in London.
Miller provided his background of struggling as a kid in Brooklyn. There were insults at Joshua, vulgarity used often. Hearn could not stop the punches before the official fight in June. And before they sat and took their turn, Joshua and Miller pushed and shoved. Credit to Hearn who got things under control.
Regardless, the Garden known as The “Mecca” has another heavyweight fight scheduled that adds to their illustrious history in the fight business. You think Joshua and Miller care about the history? Probably could give a hoot. All they want to do is get in the ring and make their own history.
And the fight does have implications. Joshua is a mega star and revenue builder in England. A successful defense is supposed to lead to that eventual meeting with Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight title holder which has reportedly been talked about purses of $30 or $50 million on the table. But in between is Tyson Fury and Wilder hoping to meet again with the PBC, ESPN and Top Rank, now with Fury. Not impossible for ESPN/Top Rank and the PBC to strike a deal.
However, Miller is confident. And if should get by Joshua, entirely possible, the heavyweight title picture will get that more confusing.
So the hype for a major heavyweight championship fight in New York, which apparently needs no hype, got ugly months prior to the first punches are thrown.
“He punches like a fairy,” Joshua said. “Fury knocked him down seven times. He’s the softest puncher in the division. I am going to knock him the f*ck out. He is a drug abuser. He’s a kickboxer. I am going to knock him out. Where’s your mother? I am paying her rent with this. She will come here and watch a real champion fight.”
Miller followed about Anthony’s mother. Of course this is boxing. The again, we saw another side of Anthony Joshua that has never been evident in his title reign since dethroning Wladimir Klitschko before 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in April of 2017.
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes were never in the social media era and this war of words got to this point without the old newspaper headlines in the back page. It got nasty and hope the fight is as memorable as those that made the heavyweight a face of the sport for years.
Anthony Joshua has the potential to be that face again. He has the power and the looks of an all around athlete that will be exposed to the American fight fan for the first time in New York. Miller, on the other hand, has never been on this platform but his ability to punch with an undefeated 22-0 record got him ranked and here.
We never got to know the strategy for both fighters. There was no opportunity as Joshua and Miller continued to hug the mic and follow with one insult after another. We do know that a lot is riding on this fight and for DAZN and the Garden it will amount to another good piece of revenue.
It comes down to what Hearn said: “We have a seen a rise in the sport with DAZN. They signed Canelo Alvarez, delivered a huge fight between Canelo and Daniel Jacobs (Brooklyn native) on May 4, and now DAZN will feature the biggest heavyweight fight by delivering Anthony Joshua to the United State to face Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller.”
Enough said, but please let bygones be bygones from this one and give the fans a good heavyweight title fight at the Garden.